Top 5 Engineering Reads

Top 5 Engineering Reads

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Top 5 Engineering Reads that will Increase your Value as an Engineer

There are few things better than sitting down with a good book to pass the time. If this book happens to improve your skills as an engineer as well as being an interesting read, then it’s even better. This article is split into two main categories of books; those that cover soft skills, and those that look at design & development. These are topics that can have a direct and measurable impact on your career. The listed books can act as a force multiplier.

Engineering Soft Skills

Developing soft skills might seem like a boring and unnecessary activity, however, changes in how you handle these types of situations can have a significant impact on your career, as well as improve your value.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

This is one of the most popular books ever written. Despite the title alluding to a frivolous book about cheap social tricks, it is instead a masterclass in how to handle social interactions in such a way as to leave a lasting positive impression on everyone you deal with. Despite engineering being a technical field, interacting with clients is a huge part of the profession, whether its communicating to clients to explain project delays, or sitting down to discuss and define a problem statement. This is an often-overlooked aspect of engineering that is not generally handled in university. This book will effectively fill that gap in knowledge.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Author: David Allen

This should strike a chord with most engineers, we often have multiple different projects running simultaneously, and effectively managing each one is a major challenge. This book aims to improve productivity by teaching the reader to first relax. The mind does not perform optimally when stressed. The book champions an elegant set of rules related to productivity namely; do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it.

Manufacturing, Design & Development

The staple of any engineer, being informed on current and future trends will help keep you relevant and allow you to prepare for the future in your specific field.

Fourth Manufacturing Revolution

Author: Klaus Schwab

According to Schwab, we are standing on the cusp of a new industrial revolution that is powered by artificial intelligence, big data, automated manufacturing and gene editing to name a few. This book also highlights some possible dangers that will be faced by companies who can not adapt to the new normal. Another major concern is the unregulated development and use of dangerous and disruptive technologies. This can create a major schism in society between those who can access the benefits of this technology and those who can’t. Engineers will find themselves at the centre of this and those who cannot adapt will be left behind. This book will give you a target as to where you can aim your future career trajectory.

The Design of Everyday Things

Author: Don Norman

Product design is far more than just creating a functional component that meets the basic user requirements, this book takes a detailed look into how a product communicates to a user, and how this communication can be improved to ultimately make the user experience more intuitive. The concept of affordance is introduced and put simply, is the perceived possible actions that can be taken when interacting with a product. Overall this book is an extremely interesting read that gives an engineer an overview of how to communicate a parts function to the user. This will ultimately help design more intuitive and easy to use products.

The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

It is a well-known fact that most startups fail; the reasons are numerous. Eric states that most of the issues that sink companies are preventable. He advises to do away with archaic constructs such as business plans and to rather maintain a lean operation that can adapt to changes and challenges. The methods described in this book claim to reduce product development times, improve capital efficiency and leverage creativity more effectively. Whether or not you are planning on striking out as an entrepreneur, the concepts in this book can help you improve the way you manage product development.  

In Conclusion

The key to becoming an outstanding engineer is constant improvement. If you are not actively improving and updating your skills you will quickly fall behind. In fact, you will fall so far behind the curve that you will not even be aware of the extent of your ignorance. The simplest and easiest way to keep a sharp edge on your skills is to read. Reading about relevant topics to your field will have an incredible return on time invested.

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